Verses from Niẓāmī's "Divan"


This calligraphic fragment includes several verses from the Divan (Compendium of poems) by Niẓāmī' (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203). After a beginning invocation to God, the verses describe how certain things and people fulfill particular roles in the world: “(For) every idol that they fashioned / They sewed a robe the size of its body / Not everyone can be the confidant of power / Not every donkey can carry Jesus.” The verses are executed in dark-brown ink on a beige paper framed by a blue border. The text is pasted to a larger sheet of beige paper decorated with green flecks of paint and backed by cardboard. It is signed by a certain Abu al-Ma'ali, whose name appears in an opposite diagonal at the center of the composition. Although sharing his name with the reputed calligrapher Abu al-Ma'ali 'Izz al-Din 'Abd al-Wahhab Zanjani (died 606 AH/1209), a disciple of Yaqut al-Musta'simi, the Abu al-Ma'ali who composed this fragment in Nasta'liq script must have been active at a much later date. The composition, which recalls a number of Safavid calligraphic exercises in its formal makeup and calligraphic style, must have been executed during the 16th or 17th century.

Last updated: April 27, 2016